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California is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas sulfuryl fluoride

man applying pesticide on a field

The use of sulfuryl fluoride (SO2F2) as a pesticide and its subsequent release into the atmosphere has raised concerns due to its potent greenhouse gas properties. Until now, there hasn’t been a comprehensive understanding of how much SO2F2 is emitted across the U.S. A team of scientists including Lei Hu of NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory and Scot Miller of Johns Hopkins University closely analyzed atmospheric measurements to estimate emissions. The new study, published in Communications Earth & Environment, reveals California as the largest emitter, particularly in coastal regions like Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties. 

These findings highlight the significance of accounting for SO2F2 emissions, especially in regions like California, to accurately assess and mitigate their impact on climate change. Developing methods to capture and minimize emissions during pesticide fumigation could offer significant environmental and climate benefits while safeguarding public health. The Climate Program Office’s Atmospheric Chemistry, Carbon Cycle and Climate (AC4) Program supports researchers Hu and Miller to use measurements of atmospheric greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide to understand how human activities change atmospheric chemistry.

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For more information, contact Clara Deck.

Image credit: Pixabay

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